It has been 10 months, and I still can't wear my wedding ring. My fingers are too beefy, and I'm semi-okay with it. Sometimes, I'll make a desperate attempt to shove it on; my poor finger regrets it immediately, and I end up running off to find some lubrication and a stronger hand than my own (something I'd much rather be doing for another reason, thanks).
The old adage 9 months on, 9 months off, I knew, would never apply to me. That doesn't mean I don't struggle to accept myself (because I do), it just means I knew what to expect from my weighty crawl to my new body norm.
I wrote about the whole subject 6 months ago:
I haven't had the time/been brave enough to post another picture or talk about my struggles.
Truthfully, my health has been terrible. The stress and demands of being a mom of three (two of which are infant twins) compounded with my genetic disorder and a month long rehab from vertigo have set my exercise efforts way back. This is hard for me for many obvious reasons, but it also slows the progress of my body getting back to a place that is healthier for me (the extra weight is hard on my back, joints, and on my mental state).
I also started physiotherapy with a therapist who specializes in EDS (Ehler's Danlos Syndrome). There are two syllables that sum up the experience quite nicely: PAIN-FUL. It reminds me of the first week back, after summer break, at my college dance classes—by the weekend, my attempts to walk were as stiff as Allison Williams' performance on Girls. Seriously, activating muscles that have been atrophied for years makes lifting your twenty-five pounder, 10 month old a special kinda torture.
My body has been this broken mass of chewed up doll pieces (so it blends into my current environment pretty well). Thank God for those extra stomach rolls, they make hunching over in pain a more cushy experience.
There's been some interesting lows which my husband has been lucky enough to occasionally witness. During one of his late night, stilted pep talks, we got into a conversation about my body image/self-esteem. He very carefully— we're talking stroking a bubble carefully—admitted that he liked it when I was bigger, because... well, he's a big fan of the Hip Hop trifecta (big boobs, big butt and a smile). I knew that while he was essentially confirming what we both knew (that I'm still quite a bit larger than I once was), it was still something he truly meant as a compliment. I decided I would take it.
In fact, at this point, I'll take whatever comes. It is what it is. I'm doing the best I can with the body I have, which in my case, is a minor miracle. I don't say that lightly either. Getting my body into an optimal place for my overall health isn't like climbing the Seven Summits, but it is, at least, like climbing 7 Witch Mountains while giving The Rock a piggy-back ride.
I decided it was time to update the shirtless, WIP shots of my post-multiple baby body. As always, I consider myself in the middle of it all. In comedy, they say that's the sweet spot. Let's hope that applies to PicCollage's body progressions too:
My assessment: I much prefer my hair and pants in the first one. Also, I was still breastfeeding at 4 months, so my boobs were the best they'll probably ever look. My linea nigra has faded, and I'm a bit smaller. There isn't as much progress as I had with my singleton, at this point, but that's how my body's rollin' this time.
My original motivation for this series was to put this out there, so that others in the thick (no pun intended) of it might have a look into what comes between the before and the after. I wanted to display all my perceived imperfections and challenge my messed up perceptions about body image. Ultimately, I thought I could play a small part in normalizing and validating the beauty you can find in the middle of the road.
I've found a solution for my ring dilemma; my ring finger is now sporting one of rings my Aunt Georgia left me when she passed away. I'm also taking the time to paint my nails with my older daughter. She loves picking out the colours I wear, and it's harder to feel bad about your fingers when they look like this: